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As reported previously, the Jefferson Parish Council has delayed their consideration of changes to the Parish’s animal cruelty ordinances. Instead, officials with the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter and Animal Shelter Advisory Board will first hold a public meeting to discuss the proposed changes. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 10, 2015, at 6:30PM in the Jefferson Room of the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 West Napoleon Avenue, in Metairie. Representatives of all local dog clubs and all concerned Jefferson Parish residents are strongly encouraged to attend the meeting. This is your opportunity to have your concerns specifically addressed by those who drafted the proposed ordinance.

The American Kennel Club remains concerned with several aspects of the proposal, including:
 

  • Changes to Sec. 7-126(d) that will require that no animal shall be left inside a vehicle or in a crate/carrier while unattended. While the AKC appreciates any policy attempting to ensure that no animal is neglected, especially when exposed to extreme heat or other weather conditions, the proposed ban fails to consider the ways dogs may be reasonably and safely contained and controlled in certain circumstances, including while hunting and at AKC-sanctioned events, like the Lagniappe Cluster of Dog Shows. These four days of events, held annually at Kenner’s Pontchartrain Center, provide an economic impact upwards of $500,000 on the local economy. A more reasonable alternative would permit reasonable containment indoors, or otherwise during acceptable weather conditions or when provided appropriate temperature control with regular monitoring of conditions.
  • Changes to Sec. 7-128(a)(7)(i) prohibits any person from placing “any animal on public display for the purpose of sale, offer for sale, barter or giveaway upon any street, sidewalk, parking lot, shopping center walkway or other public place.” (Emphasis added.) The AKC believes this wording is overbroad and if enacted and enforced can effectively ban purebred rescue and other groups from offering animals for sale (or “adoption”) at Pet Fest, held every year at Lafreniere Park, or at other similar rehoming events.
  • Revamping Section 7-129 to require that individuals charged with animal cruelty and whose animal is seized must post bond for the care of the animal within 15 days. The proceeds of the bond would be effective for 30 days, and would require renewal for every additional 30-day period during the pendency of the case. Failure to do so at any time would allow the Parish Animal Shelter to place the seized animal for adoption, fostering, or euthanization. While a defendant incurs high costs to defend themselves in a criminal proceeding, it is likely that paying daily care costs far greater than what they would usually incur could prove an impossible burden to meet. In cases where a verdict of innocence was reached or charges were dropped, a defendant unable to pay would be permanently deprived of their property, with no recourse. Furthermore, in 2009 a federal district court declared a similar bond requirement unconstitutional. The AKC believes that the proposal must be amended to allow waiver of the bond requirements for indigent defendants who prove they are unable to pay the otherwise required bond costs pending resolution of their case.
  • Proposed Sec. 7-129(b)(1)(vi) would allow the animal shelter to place a seized animal for adoption, foster, or euthanasia, for “humane purposes” regardless of whether a bond was posted. The AKC believes that this is unreasonable. In the alternative, when a person or interested party has met the bond requirements (or, as recommended above, in cases involving a proven indigent defendant in which a bond requirement is waived), permanent disposition of a seized animal should only take place upon the judgment of a court.

Meeting information:
Date: Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Time: 6:30PM
Location: East Bank Regional Library, Jefferson Room
Address: 4747 West Napoleon Avenue, Metairie, LA 70001

AKC Government Relations appreciates the assistance of local dog owners who have taken the time to reach out to the Parish Council, and of Parish Council staff who have assisted them.

For further assistance, contact AKC GR at (919) 816-3720, or email doglaw@akc.org.

As reported previously, the Jefferson Parish Council has delayed their consideration…

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